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Personal Fall Arrest Systems

A personal fall arrest system is one option of protection that OSHA requires for workers on construction sites who are exposed to vertical drops of 6 feet or more.

Click on any of the components of the personal fall arrest system illustrated below for descriptions and provisions required by OSHA.
Attachment Location Body Harness Vertical Lifeline/Lanyard Webbing
Anchorages Horizontal Lifeline Connectors

Using Fall Arrest Systems Safely

Worker walking on beam protected by a fall arrest system
This worker is protected by a properly constructed fall arrest system.
  • Ensure that personal fall arrest systems will, when stopping a fall:
    • Limit maximum arresting force to 1,800 pounds.
    • Be rigged such that an employee can neither free fall more than 6 feet nor contact any lower level.
    • Bring an employee to a complete stop and limit maximum deceleration distance to 3½ feet.
    • Have sufficient strength to withstand twice the potential impact energy of a worker free falling a distance of 6 feet, or the free fall distance permitted by the system, whichever is less
  • Remove systems and components from service immediately if they have been subjected to fall impact, until inspected by a competent person and deemed undamaged and suitable for use.
  • Promptly rescue employees in the event of a fall, or assure that they are able to rescue themselves.
  • Inspect systems before each use for wear, damage, and other deterioration, and remove defective components from service.
  • Do not attach fall arrest systems to guardrail systems or hoists.
  • Rig fall arrest systems to allow movement of the worker only as far as the edge of the walking/working surface, when used at hoist areas.

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